How Farmer Vendors Say Markets Can Help Them
Demand for local food continues to grow. And as the demand for local food grows, so does the demand for local farmers markets. Markets are seeking ways to deepen their role within the community and help farmers establish avenues to expand their business.
To better understand the evolving needs of farmers markets and the farmers who sell at them, American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition teamed up with C2It Marketing to complete a national survey of farmers who sell at farmers markets. This is part of our series of blog posts on the results of this survey. Read the other posts here.
Survey Participation and Feedback
Over 900 farmers who sell at farmers markets nationwide responded to the survey, providing valuable feedback and ideas that should help FMC and farmers markets across the country improve their operations. Despite the large number of responses, keep in mind these responses are not representative of vendors from your local farmers market.
FMC recommends that markets review the issues farmers highlight in this survey, and then ask their own vendors about what would make the market more successful. Please also note that the views expressed by the survey responses do not necessarily reflect the views of FMC.
What Respondents Requested from Markets
When asked, “What could be done to help you and your farmers market be more successful?”, many farmers noted several areas where markets and supporting organizations could make improvements. The following answers provide a snapshot of the prevailing issues. Click on the links to view details on each suggestion:
- Improving and funding advertising and signage of the market and its vendors (highlighted in 21.3% of responses)
- Revisiting aspects of market management (e.g. market hours, vendor mix, fees, staff and board conflicts of interests) (9.9%)
- Creating and enforcing rules that prioritize or only allow local, farm-based products produced by the vendor. (6.1%)
- Changing market location and/or improving market facilities (i.e. parking, restrooms, water access) (2.6%)
- Consolidating farmers markets to reduce competition and increase customer traffic at each market. (1.6%)
- Increasing market acceptance of WIC and EBT benefits. (1.2%)
- Enforcing rules about the use of terms like “Certified Organic”, “organic” and “natural” in marketing, such as on signs. (.9%)
About the Survey:
The Direct Market Farmers: National Survey, conducted in March 2015, yielded an impressive response from over 1,500 farmers and ranchers across the United States, benchmarking this survey as one of the largest of its kind completed on record.
US-based farmers and ranchers invited to participate in the survey were selected based on their online presence (e.g. email, website, food/agriculture directory, etc.) and an indication of participation in the following activities:
- Farmers markets and/or CSAs
- Selling directly to consumers
- Local, regional and/or federal agriculture programs
- Educational studies